Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A New Roommate

It is my third day in Lamardelle, Haiti. It has been training, training, and more training. I am only going to have four days of training before the current Social Service worker, Danielle, leaves for grad school back in the states. It is a really bitter sweet experience, because her and I have bonded so well. It is weird how it works, but it’s as if I’ve known her all my life. We hit it off right away and we can’t stop laughing about everything. I feel for her because her whole entire year in Haiti, she has really been by herself. There was no one who spoke English that was close to her age for her to talk to. It really makes a huge difference with the language barrier. I feel really lucky that I can speak French and can communicate with the people here. I am really looking forward to this experience. I am getting excellent training from Danielle and it really helps that she is very organized with all the documents and templates that I will be needing. Yesterday we went over all the logistics of the administrative part of the job and what the documents actually looked like. She had me put together and check a child’s adoption dossier that was ready to go to IBESR, which is the Haitian Child Welfare Department. It was really good to actually see the dossiers and get to understand the process. All the documents have French and English versions, since we are working with both countries’ embassies. Today we went over the whole entire Adoption process in Haiti. Oh boy was it complicated!!! There are two different reasons how a child in Haiti ends up in the crèches here. 1) They were abandoned 2) the biological parents are giving up their rights to the children, because they can no longer take care of them. The two processes are a little bit different with different documents that we need to obtain for each of the child’s dossier, but the later processes are all the same. Once the adoptive parents and child(ren) get officially matched up, the parents need to officially state in a document that they are in agreement with the matching decision and they are willing to go on with the adoption process. There are many different processes afterward, such as IBESR, Parquet (which is the legal court process), MOI (Ministry of Interior), Immigration, Passport, and VISA. This is why the adoption process takes usually about a year to finish before the adoptive parents can take their child back home. It is a very tedious process and lots and lots of paperwork. This will be one of my main duties, being in charge of each child’s adoption dossier and to track all the documents that are needed for finalizing the adoption. It is a lot of work, but a great challenge!

It was a very fulfilling day of learning and training in the office. Danielle and I headed over to Manmi’s, Lucienne Duncan, who is the founder of the Foundation Enfant Jesus. She lives just right next door to the crèche in Lamardelle and we always walk over there after the work day is over. Right now there is a team of American volunteers here helping with sorting out all the donations that the crèche received over the past couple of months. Thank goodness for them, because the staff doesn’t have extra time to sort through all the things upstairs. We all sat by the pool and chatted. Apparently there is a small hurricane heading toward Haiti tonight, we’ll see how that goes. Not too worried, it is a normal thing here. We all ate together and dinner was fabulous, as usual. The curry rice and salad was so good, I had two plates. Yum, yum, yum.

Another awesome day in Haiti has passed by! I am sharing a room with Danielle right now, fully equipped with a make-shift bunk bed. It has a very springy mattress that tends to poke at your ribs and spinal cord throughout the nighttime. Along with the hardworking ant army across the frames and sheets. Oh yeah, there was a new roommate, Tiny, that was added to the mix today. A super tiny gray mice that lives at the corner behind the small couch in the room. We totally gave it a scare today! Sadly Papi Vieux found him in the kitchen and now our small friend has gone to a quiet and peaceful place. RIP Tiny.

Tomorrow I meet with the Duncans for an official meeting. Can’t wait! Took a cold shower tonight and it felt awesome, since it is super hot in Lamardelle. There is no hot water here at the crèche, but it really doesn’t matter since the temperature never gets below 25 degrees. I hope my bags come tomorrow. Let’s cross our fingers, because my clothes are getting a little bit too sticky….

1 comment:

  1. it was a great blessing to have a experienced co-worker like Danielle who's willing to teach you and help you. Also, I am glad that you got yummy vegitarian food to eat as your regular meal. Lucky you!
    amitofu to little tiny!

    love mom+